Whether photographing a shoe factory in China, a rock quarry in Portugal or a copper mine in Chile, Edward Burtynsky creates images that use scale to consider the magnitude of human industry and its impact on the landscape. “To me, what’s interesting as art is to begin to define that theater of industry that is almost beyond our imagination,” Burtynsky says.
His most recent long-term project, OIL, is currently showing simultaneously at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., at Hasted Hunt Kraeutler in New York and at Nicholas Metivier Gallery in Toronto. The project was also recently released as a book by Steidl. OIL isn’t meant as an encompassing documentation of the vast global oil production system. Instead it focuses on major themes—oil extraction and refinement, “motor culture,” and the eventual end of the production and consumption of oil.
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